Nora British Speedway Champions Jason Edwards and Katie Gordon stamped their authority on their respective competitions with excellent performances, achieved in slightly different ways, at last night’s race meeting at the Smallbrook Stadium.
Edwards, winner of the title in the two previous years, produced two winning rides and two second places for ten points during qualification to secure a grand final slot, but he was outscored by former Wightlink Islander Paul Starke who recorded four wins whilst come-back king Steve Boxall again showed his liking for the Smallbrook track with eleven points. Completing the Grand Final line-up was Warrior’s Arran Butcher who pipped another name from the past Andre Compton who showed that he still has plenty to offer should he ever wish to return to the shale.
Before the meeting many supporters were tipping Anzac’s Jake Turner and Brayden McGuinness for podium places, however both had nights to forget with Kiwi Turner taking three separate falls in an identical place before withdrawing from the meeting whilst McGuinness also took a fall and had an engine failure before being well beaten in the C Final by a classy ride from young Freddy Hodder.
Warrior’s George Congreve was a tapes to flag winner of the B Final with Compton a steady second and Morgan Williams and James Laker continuing their personal battles for the third time with the latter prevailing 2-1.
Onto the Grand Final and the prospect of an exciting climax became reality as Starke and Edwards made the best starts. Exiting bend two it was Starke who eased to the front with Edwards two bike length’s back and Boxall a further two lengths away and for the first lap in was close between all three, however exiting bend two on the second lap Starke made a slight mistake and Edwards was quick to spot the opportunity to drive hard and fast into bend three, run wide to the outside and use the heavier shale to pick up the traction needed to hit the front. The others, who deserve full credit for their contributions, had no response as the title holder was away and gone.
C Final: Hodder, McGuinness, Turner (NS)
B Final: Congreve, Compton, Laker, Williams
Grand Final: Edwards, Starke, Boxall, Butcher
If Edwards had to work overtime to secure his win, for Katie Gordon in the Nora Women’s Championship it was really plain sailing. Having recorded four impressive wins on Tuesday evening, it was more of the same in the second meeting with a sequence of four clean, quick starts and convincing race wins for the UK Women’s undisputed number one. Stepping up from third place last year to runner-up this time was home racer Steph Whitlock with a consistent set of eight second places whilst fellow Islander Anastasia Sallee took third place overall.
Rounding off a night full of variety, the youth riders on the Island were given an opportunity to race as part of the main event with each taking four rides in front of an appreciative audience. Dorset racer Charlie Southwick was best winning all his outings with Tia Brant heading Jack Scully-Syer and Charlie Green for the minor places.
The image courtesy of Ian Groves / Sportography shows Arran Butcher (blue helmet) in close quarter action with Jason Edwards (red). Brayden McGuinness (white) and Freddy Hodder (yellow) also in shot.